Tuesday marks Data Privacy Day and in marking the day questions have been raised on how safe an end-user’s information is online.

The safety concerns come at the back of data breach scandals, like the 2018 Facebook-Cambridge Analytica saga.

Cambridge Analytica had harvested the personal information of 50 million people on Facebook without their consent and used it to influence US voters.

WorldWideWorx Data Analyst Bryan Turner says social media users have the ability to protect their information from being shared on other online platforms.

“There are systems in place to restrict companies from abusing ones privacy, but unfortunately, those are generally hidden deep in the settings and one almost has to be a power user to find them.”

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow users to minimise the exposure their information gets from third parties. For example, one can set that their account details not be shared with search engines.

Facebook is currently doing improvements on its platform to better protect its 2.4 billion users from these privacy issues.

Listen to Bryan Turner on how to control data privacy on social media platforms:

Facebook updates  privacy settings

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the social media platform is starting the decade by giving the user more control over their privacy. In a statement released on Tuesday, Zuckerberg says their “goals for the next decade is to build much stronger privacy protections for everyone on Facebook. We know we have a lot of work to do here, which is why this is such a priority for our teams and for me personally.”

He says they will be sending a prompt for People to Review Their Privacy Settings.

“This makes it even easier to adjust who can see your posts and profile information, strengthen your account security by turning on login alerts, and review the information you share with apps you’ve logged in to with Facebook.”

Facebook says the move was influenced by the company’s commitment in ensuring that their users have transparency on how the internet works.

“…and to help them (Facebook users) make informed choices about their privacy.”

The South African government is also playing its part by putting in place legislation that aims to protect citizens from data breaches. It’s using legal frameworks like the EU’S General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and South Africa’s POPI Act (Protection Of Personal Information Act) to do this.

Turner says although the efforts are commendable, the laws are limited in their scope because of jurisdictions.

Listen to Bryan Turner on audio link below:

He says as long as there is information shared on the internet, there the risk of information being used for financial gain or otherwise will always be there.

Turner advises internet users to look at alternative browsers, like Duckduck Go, which protects an individual’s search history by not giving it out to other parties for targeted marketing.